Lamb – New research shows “our NHS would cease to function” without EU citizens

The NHS will not be able to cope without workers from the European Union, as new figures suggest the number of EU nationals joining NHS hospitals has soared.

Around one in five nurses recruited in England 2015/16 were non-British EU nationals - up from one in 14 in 2011/12, research by the Press Association has found.

Commenting, Norman Lamb MP, Patron of Vote Leave Watch, said:

“Our NHS relies on the amazing work done by thousands of European citizens, who save lives every day up and down Britain. We should be thanking them, not indulging in an ugly demonisation of foreigners.  

“The government’s continued refusal to promise that all EU citizens currently living in Britain will be allowed to remain is both morally wrong and utterly self-defeating. It is clear today that our NHS would cease to function without them.

“Leave campaigners promised that Brexit would benefit the NHS. With their £350 million pledge abandoned, and doctors from the EU feeling unwanted, it is clear that a Hard Brexit is the greatest threat to our NHS.”



  1. New research by the Press Association, embargoed until 00:01 on Friday, has found that around one in five nurses recruited in England 2015/16 were non-British EU nationals - up from one in 14 in 2011/12. Of the 33,000 nurses recorded as joining hospitals in 2015/16, just over 6,000 held an EU nationality other than British. Some 1,750 were Spanish, 1,300 Italian and nearly 1,000 Portuguese. The findings, based on data published by NHS Digital, also suggested that in 2015/16: Around one in 10 midwives joining hospitals were non-British EU nationals; Some 20% of newly-recruited speciality doctors were EU nationals, along with 17% of speciality registrars and 7% of foundation year doctors; and just over 10% of the total staff joining NHS hospitals held EU nationality.
  2. The government still has not ruled out changes of status, and even deportations, of EU citizens currently living in the UK. Yesterday, Liam Fox said EU nationals living in the UK were “one of our main cards”: